14 8 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

The Tampa Bay Rays and Ben Zobrist, along with Bay Area YMCAs, United Way Suncoast, the Children's Board of Hillsborough County and the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, will partner this summer to implement "Be Water Smart from the Start," a comprehensive drowning prevention plan for youth in the Tampa Bay area.

"Be Water Smart from the Start" also includes a series of public service announcements featuring Zobrist explaining drowning risks and helpful tips for the summer.

Zobrist says teaching kids to swim is so important, especially in Florida with so much water. "As a parent, my wife and I are always concerned and keeping a close eye on our kids."

The Tampa Rays' Ben Zobrist pushes for swimming safety.

According to the YMCA, from 2005 to 2009, there was an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drowning cases annually in the United States and about one in five of those who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

Additionally, Florida has the highest drowning death rate in the nation for children under age 5 with more than 60 percent of these drowning deaths in Florida occurring in residential swimming pools every year.

For more information and a number of aquatic safety tips, visit the YMCAs of Tampa Bay website.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wtsp.com/1pfV71L